He's busy but coming back! Derek Hough is returning to Dancing With the Stars for season 23, and the dance pro opened up on Facebook on Monday, August 29, about how he was able to free up enough time to compete in the ballroom this fall.
Hough nabbed the mirrorball trophy with Bindi Irwin in the season 21 finale that aired in November 2015, but he sat out season 22 to focus on other projects, including starring in Singin' in the Rain on Broadway, and playing Corny Collins in NBC's Hairspray Live! in December 2016. As it turned out, Singin' in the Rain's launch was delayed indefinitely due to a lack of available theater space on the Great White Way, giving Hough an opening in his schedule.
"I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason," Hough, 31, wrote in the Facebook post, which included a video of him dancing shirtless to "Don't Let Me Down" by the Chainsmokers. "This fall, I was planning on being immersed in rehearsals for Singin' in the Rain on Broadway, but due to successes of the shows currently running, that project has been delayed because there simply isn't a theater available. Singin' in the Rain is still very much part of my future plans."
"With my fall schedule freeing up, I'm excited to say that I'll be back on Dancing with the Stars for season 23," he continued. "It's always great to be back with my DWTS family, coaching, creating and making lasting memories. I'm grateful to everyone at Hairspray Live! for enabling me to do double duty on two major productions at the same time this fall. It's going to be a challenge that I'm looking forward to."
Us Weekly had previously reported last week that both Derek — who has won the mirrorball trophy a record six times — and younger sister Julianne Hough would be back for season 23, with Julianne reprising her role as a judge. (She too was absent last season.)
Us has confirmed a number of stars who will be competing for the title this season, including Amber Rose, Ryan Lochte, gymnast Laurie Hernandez, music producer Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and rapper Vanilla Ice. Good Morning America will announce the full cast on Tuesday, August 30.
Dancing With the Stars season 23 premieres on ABC Monday, September 12, at 8 p.m. ET. Hairspray Live! airs on NBC Wednesday, December 7 at 8 p.m. ET.